Parallel Universe

Put your blinker on, pull forward, shift to reverse, apply the gas, turn the wheel, turn the wheel again. Put the car in drive, straighten the wheel, pull forward. Maybe back up a little.

We have a massive parking lot upheaval – both literal and figurative – that started right before classes started. There was hubbub about where we would park and having to wear sneakers just to walk to our building. Perhaps the real hubbub should have been about teaching people how to parallel park in those spaces along the street!

Just yesterday as I was walking to my office, I spied a man trying to parallel park. He did it the right way by pulling forward first but he seemed to think he was goofing up the “turn the wheel” part of the process. He wasn’t. He tried to park at least 3 times when he would have made it during the first try. I really felt the urge on his first go-round to help him out and wave him in. But I didn’t. I thought He’ll get it eventually… then I stopped looking over in his direction, knowing that if he saw me, I was probably making it worse.


What is it about parallel parking? Any other time that we park, we don’t get nervous when people look at us. Do we? I’ve known people to break out in a sweat trying to parallel park. (Oh, did I say people? Maybe I meant me.) Sometimes it’s so much pressure that you leave a perfectly wonderful parking space to go find another where you can pull in normally. And it’s particularly nerve-wracking when someone is waiting behind you. You wedge the car in part way hoping to provide enough passing room and wave them to move on.

Luckily, as long as no one is watching, I do just fine and I rarely have to attempt it more than once…. How about you? Are you a nervous parallel-parker? Maybe you think you’re a pro?


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